Watercress and Roasted Beet Salad

This salad bounces around the palate like spring sun bounces off the water. It is bright and vivid in both color and flavor. If you can’t find fresh, green almonds use whole, skinned almonds.

1 medium sized beet or 2 small beets
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, sliced paper-thin
6 cups watercress sprigs
Generous ½ cup (110g) fresh, green almonds, or raw almonds that have been lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

  1. If using raw, green almonds, crack the outer shell, and peel off the inner golden skin to reveal the tender young almond. Reserve.
  1. Bring 3 cups water to a boil in the bottom half of a steamer. Add the beets and steam until they are tender through, 30 to 40 minutes. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them, and cut them into small dice. Reserve.
  1. In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar with salt and pepper to taste, until the salt dissolves. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Stir in the shallots and season to taste.
  1. Place 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a small bowl. Add the diced beet and toss, so all the pieces are thoroughly coated with dressing. Reserve.
  1. Add the watercress to the remaining dressing in the large bowl, toss gently but thoroughly so the watercress leaves are coated with the dressing, then add the almonds. Toss again, and divide among six plates, making sure the almonds are arranged so that they can be seen. Sprinkle equal amounts of the beets atop the salad and serve immediately.

6 servings